Don’t get me wrong.
I love the farmhouse. I love its quirks and its randomness like a door on a set of stairs from almost 100 years ago.
I love its fancy chandeliers and ceiling medallions and floor grates (thanks for all the floor grate love).
We’ve remodeled almost everything from top to bottom and while the house makes my heart beat faster, there’s still a few things I would ask for a do over on.
Because just like my mother said about stirrup pants and legwarmers.
It’s always a good idea to learn from your mistakes.
Mistake #1 Not asking the electrician to change out the outlets or simply leaving the original brown outlet covers
This is a picture from when the blog was in kindergarten. I’m not even linking to the post because the photos are so bad. Trust me on this. And don’t even get me started on the overabundance of brown in the room and photographing a space with a lamp on creating all that harsh light in the picture.
I want you to focus on something you rarely see on the blog.
They are all over the house and half of them look like this.
See how the outlet part is brown and the plate cover is white. It’s like that because the walls used to be dark, so the outlets blended in. The covers and the outlet part were brown. Then I went all bright and light and lost most of the covers (and more importantly the screws) in the whole remodeling process, so I decided just to get new covers in white. And by the time I figured out that the dark part of the outlet was trying its hardest not to blend in with the white outlet cover, it was too late.
Lesson learned: In any remodel it’s important to remember that something little like an outlet can make a big difference.
Mistake #2 Not getting sofas with removable back cushions
I love these sofas.
I get e-mails about them all the time. When we remodeled the room, I wanted it to be symmetrical after we added the built-ins and I thought two love seats would be perfect in the space.
The only challenge? Telling your husband you want two love seats after he just found the extra money to refinish your wood floors. Yikes.
I knew they had to be affordable and neutral with nail-heads and heavy upholstery to stand up to kids and pets and red koolaid. These mini-sofas fit the bill. They were under $500 each and I got them from the Chris Madden Collection at JC Penney years ago. At the time, the stationary back cushions didn’t seem like a deal breaker.
Until I lived with them.
Stationary back cushions are hard to clean and kind of slump down after a while and oddly push the bottom cushions out.
Lesson learned: It’s important sometimes to spend just a little extra on a big purchase to make sure it’s exactly what you want.
Mistake #3 Not painting the ceilings
(total aside: are you laughing at how all about this new lens I am?)
When we started remodeling, we began by painting the ceiling of the first room we finished.
You can see the painted ceiling in the living room.
We painted it SW Rice Grain and it warmed up the room and made such a difference to the space.
And I loved it.
Then the remodel started going faster and faster and we were on a time crunch and painting the ceilings took a back seat. I told myself I could always paint the ceilings later, but I underestimated how challenging it would be to take every piece of furniture out of a room and lay down all those drop cloths to protect the flooring.
And then later never showed up.
Lesson learned: Sometimes it’s better to make time for something in the moment that you know in your heart you will never get to later.
Mistake #4 Underestimating the ceiling fan
The irony of that statement is I’m showing you a ceiling fan on the back porch. One that I send silent prayers to heaven for every summer. But see that space to the left? There’s a mini room over there with a light that the contractor tried to talk me into converting into a ceiling fan.
I rolled my eyes when he asked me.
Ceiling fans are so 2011 I told anyone who would listen and promptly took them out of most of the rest of house, too.
My electric bill did not thank me.
They have so many amazing options for ceiling fans now that are industrial and beautiful and farmhouse. I wish I would have paused and looked at some other options for room circulation. Not in every room, but a few well placed ceiling fans here and there would have been a better choice.
Lesson learned: I don’t know everything. Research a little before making a design decision.
Mistake #5 Following a trend in decorating that isn’t really your style
I saved this one for last because this one I think is the most important.
Case in point. The Gatehouse. When we bought the gatehouse, I wanted to follow my heart and decorate the space with farmhouse neutrals.
And then I went onto Pinterest.
And got distracted.
It is easy to do. Believe me. Before you know it you are setting up boards like “Red and Orange Decor” and “Tables That Turned Into Something Else” and “Jetson Family Decor”.
And I turned my back on what I loved and decided to try something different.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just that in my case, different so got on my nerves after a while. It was like wearing a bright blue pantsuit covered in sequins with over-sized shoulder pads and red hair and blue eye shadow. It’s right for Lady Gaga.
But not so much for me.
Lesson learned: Be true to who you are
Don’t follow rabbit trails on Pinterest.
I get it. I understand. It is so easy to do. But at the end of the day, there is only one you and what you love for your home will always be perfect no matter what someone else dictates with the latest trends.
Trust your heart.
After all, you are a rock star.
PS If you have any decorating mistakes you’ve made, share away. It will make my mistakes feel better.